Dancing With the Scots!

I can attest to falling in love with your dance partner, but I never expected the same effect to apply to an entire city.

Falling for Edinburgh began the first day I had the opportunity to explore the city. Full from our traditional Scottish breakfast, (haggis and all!) Victoria and I decided to walk around town. We passed by a vintage shop, and our brief moment of window shopping ended. A stunning sundress stopped me in my tracks, but the event flyer posted on her door lured me in.  The store owner was hosting a small 50’s themed fashion show, followed by jitter-bug swing lesson… and she had two tickets left!

There was one small problem.  The night of the Carnival Jive was the same night of our study abroad welcome dinner. Victoria and I were so torn.  We did not want to miss the first change to bond with the people we would be spending the next month with. On the same note, this was an amazing opportunity to connect with locals while doing two things I was passionate about.  We took the day to consider our options… and make sure skipping dinner was even a possibility.  After a tiny bit of convincing, our wonderful professor set us free for the night!

But first, a search for the perfect outfit.

As we stepped into the small boutique, we were immediately transported into a 50’s cocktail party.  Victoria and I quickly realized we were not dressed for the occasion.  A 20% discount for every item in the store provided the perfect excuse to… um… invest! After some time of working my way around decades of fashion, I found the perfect skirt to complement the evening.

After the host ensured all the guests of age had a 50’s themed cocktail in hand, the night’s festivities kicked off!  A series of evening gowns and sundresses were strutted down a make-shift runway. Twirls and spins were met with oohs and awes.


The rest of our evening was met with challenging dance moves and a lot of laughter. Being that women were the main attendees, Victoria and I became dance partners for most of the night.

I was given a run for my money after a chance to dance with one of the instructors for a few songs.  When he asked where I had learned to dance, I was proud to tell him Kansas City had taught me everything I know about swing.

Just before parting ways, the instructors invited me to their summer Thursday night swing lessons.  I gladly accepted the invitation, knowing this could be my cure for a future case of homesick blues.

I have been known to coin ‘dancing’ as my love language, so I’d be wrong to say I was surprised, but the Thursday night after dance lessons sealed my love Edinburgh.  None of my classmates had been interested, so I set off to dance on my own.  My small time of solitude was very welcomed after an overwhelming week in the city.  After hours of lessons in a small neighborhood church, I started my walk home. I think I smiled to myself the entire way. The ‘movie moment’ I had been waiting for the entire time I had been away suddenly washed over me.  I felt like Frances Mayes from “Under the Tuscan Sun” or Julia Roberts in “Eat Pray Love”. It hit me that I was living in another country… and thriving!  It was 10pm, but the sky was still a lively blue, the weather was perfect, and I was walking through the most beautiful neighborhood.  I loved this city and its warm people.  I couldn’t think of any place I would rather be.

Serena Baker is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Chemistry with a minor in Entrepreneurship. Serena is spending the summer abroad with UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland. Taking full advantage of her trip abroad, Serena will make a stop-over in Iceland and visit Germany after the program to improve her language proficiency.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.